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Visitors, residents send K.C. folks messages they are safe

Visitors, residents send K.C. folks messages they are safe

Members of the Jewish Federation’s Shorashim 2 mission visited an Iron Dome command center outside of Ashkelon in May 2014. Shorashim 2 was a mission for men only to learn about contemporary issues facing... Read more...

Special fundraising campaigns initiated: Israel needs you now

Special fundraising campaigns initiated: Israel needs you now

Late last week the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City, through the Jewish Federations of North American, launched Operation Relief and Respite in response to the current tensions in Israel. Read more...

Survivorship courses to help cancer survivors incorporate ‘Back in the Swing’ lifestyle

Among other things, Barbara Unell spoke about the ‘Back in the Swing Cookbook’ at The Duke Cancer Center Survivorship Center in Durham, N.C., last fall. “This is a plan for wellness versus illness.”... Read more...

NCJW Back to School Store offers new clothing, school supplies to underprivileged kids

National Council of Jewish Women’s Back to School Store will impact 200 children living in poverty in the Kansas City metro area, primarily from Jackson County, Mo., and Johnson County, Kan. Read more...

Israeli Scouts to bring high-energy performance to Campus, B’nai Jehudah

Friendship Caravan Assif While things in their home country are a little tense, a group of young Israelis will be here to share their talents and their love of their country. On Friday, July 25, the Friendship... Read more...

Listening Post

Howard Haas (left) and Rabbi Morey Schwartz in Jerusalem. MELTON@HBHA — While traveling in Israel, Howard Haas, head of school at the Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy, met with Rabbi Morey Schwartz in Jerusalem... Read more...

Survivor closes tailor shop at Metcalf South, producers seek funds to complete ‘Big Sonia’ documentary

Photo by Gloria Baker Feinstein: Sonia Warshawski (left) poses for this photo with her granddaughter and grandson-in-law, Leah Warshawski and Todd Soliday, shortly before her shop closed. Soliday and the... Read more...

JCCC’s Nerman Museum receives gift from Cohen Charitable Trust

Mary Davidson Cohen A first-floor space in the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art will become the Kansas Focus Gallery, thanks to gifts from the Barton P. and Mary Davidson Cohen Charitable Trust, as well... Read more...

KC Fringe Festival features Jewish comedian

Brian Schiller will appear in Kansas City July 18, 19 and 20. “How I Lost My Virginity at 29 & Other Embarrassing Tales” is stand-up comedian Brian Schiller’s blisteringly funny and poignant... Read more...

Listening Post

Karen B. Gerson HAPPY GRADUATE — Karen B. Gerson graduated with her Executive Masters of Public Administration degree from the Bloch School of Business and Management from the University of Missouri-Kansas... Read more...

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Letter to the Editor

Half-truths and anti-Semitism I was irate after watching the late CNN news on July 10. Anderson Cooper pretended to deliver a factual report about Israel’s bombing of Arab residences, with a slight... Read more...

Amidst turmoil, life in Israel continues to be meaningful

Amidst turmoil, life in Israel continues to be meaningful

My mother wants me to come home. I’ve been calling her every day, and she wants me on a plane immediately. She has been watching the news and following events as they unfold here in Israel and she is... Read more...

Letter to the Editor

Conference gives families hope My husband Harold and I were fortunate to attend the Mucolipidosis Type 4 (ML4) Foundation Family & Research Conference last month in Atlanta. ML4, a relatively unknown... Read more...

We mourn three senseless deaths caused by hate, again

Our Jewish community has held two memorial services in the last three months — 77 days apart to be exact. Thousands of people attended the first one, as the Jewish community grieved for the senseless... Read more...

‘Soul Encounters’ reminds us of Rebbe’s message

Rabbi Sholom Wineberg The name “Soul Encounters” appropriately identified the program at Chabad House Center, which took place Tuesday, July 1, 3rd of Tammuz. Nearly 100 people attended. Read more...

Letter to the Editor

No champion of Jewish values I cannot share Washington Jewish Week/JNS.orgreporter Dmitriy Shapiro’s lament for the demise of Eric Cantor’s political career (The Chronicle, June 19, or www.jns.org),... Read more...

Federation mission gives participants unique look at Eastern European Jews

Alan Widman (left) and Stacey Belzer (right) visit with Sybil Sylvian in June. Sylvian’s picture was featured on Page 1 of The Chronicle in January as part of a story about the KU Hillel European Leadership... Read more...

'State of Deception' exhibition should not be missed

“Propaganda is a truly terrible weapon in the hands of an expert.” — Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf,” 1924   I attended a press preview this week for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museums... Read more...

Letter to the Editor

Stop saying ‘hate’ The name of our community is Village Shalom — a place of peace. That peace was shattered April 13 when Terri LaManno was killed at Village Shalom, and Dr. William Corporon and... Read more...

Proud moments for Jewish life in Kansas

Judaism is a religion not a career … or so I thought. Growing up in a family full of business minded people, being Jewish was my religion but I had never thought of it as anything more. In 2009 I was... Read more...

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Unell Bat Mitzvah

Unell Bat Mitzvah

Joe and Marcia Unell announce the Bat Mitzvah of their daughter, Alyssa Unell, on June 26 at Haas Promenade in Jerusalem. Read more...

Zeldin B'nai Mitzvah

Zeldin B'nai Mitzvah

Ashlyn and Alexis Zeldin celebrated their Bat Mitzvah commitment ceremony on June 6 in Santa Barbara, Calif. They are the daughters of Janine and Kevin Zeldin of St Louis, Mo. Read more...

Badzin-Fineman Engagement

Jim and Fern Badzin, Leawood, announce the engagement of their daughter, Brooke Michelle Badzin, to Nathan Gabriel Fineman, both of Chicago, son of Glen and Holly Fineman, Omaha, Neb. Read more...

Bergman-Kaplan Engagement

Victor and Susan Bergman announce the engagement of their daughter, Ruthie Bergman, to Asher Kaplan, son of Shlomo Kaplan, Loch Sheldrake, N.Y., and Judith Kaplan, Boca Raton, Fla. Read more...

Reidy Wedding

Jennifer Mayer and James Reidy were married Saturday, March 1, at the Overland Park Marriott. The ceremony was officiated by Rabbi Arthur Nemitoff of The Temple, Congregation B’nai Jehudah. Read more...

Alpert Birth

Jeremy and Ashley Alpert of Overland Park announce the birth May 28 of a son, Levi Caleb. Levi joins big brother Jonah Doni. Read more...

Kershenbaum Bat Mitzvah

Bruce and Eileen Kershenbaum announce the Bat Mitzvah of their daughter, Emma Jaye, on Saturday, June 21, at Haas Promenade in Jerusalem. Read more...

Kessler Bar Mitzvah

Alan and Deb Kessler announce the Bar Mitzvah of their son, Jacob, on Saturday, June 21, at Masada in Israel. Read more...

Garcia-Lipoff Birth

Renee Garcia and Jules Lipoff of Philadelphia announce the birth April 8 of a daughter, Zadie Marie Garcia-Lipoff. Read more...

Aft Birth

Aaron and Leah Aft of Indianapolis announce the birth May 30 of a son, Jonah Reid. They are also the parents of Caleb Henry and Olivia Rose. Read more...

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Chick, Stephen

Chick, Stephen

Stephen Bruce Chick of Prairie Village passed away peacefully on Monday, July 7, 2014. Read more...

Freed, Ronald

Freed, Ronald

Ronald Lee Freed passed away on Monday, July 14, 2014. Read more...

Gladstone, Donald

Donald H. Gladstone, 93, of Overland Park, passed away Thursday, July 10, 2014. Read more...

Hammer, Robert L.

Robert L. Hammer, 73, passed away Tuesday, July 8, 2014. Read more...

Hoffman, Dorothy

Dorothy Lillian Hoffman, 91, of Leawood, passed away on Sunday, July 6, 2014, at Village Shalom. Read more...

Megerman, Charles

Charles Megerman, 67, of Overland Park, passed away Monday, July 14, 2014, at his home. Read more...

Plotsky, Edward

Edward Plotsky, 68, of Reno, Nev., passed away Tuesday, July 8, 2014, at his home. A private service and interment will be in Reno. Read more...

Galamba, Louise Marie

Louise Marie Galamba, 95, passed away on Friday, July 4, 2014, surrounded by her family. Read more...

Gelb, Evelyn Dorothy

Evelyn Dorothy Gelb, 83, beloved wife of Larry Gelb, died peacefully at Clare Bridge Alzheimer’s and Dementia Unit on Friday, July 4, 2014. Read more...

Gold, Ruth A.

Ruth A. Gold, 66, of Prairie Village, passed away Friday, July 4, 2014. Ruth was diagnosed with ALS late in 2013. Read more...

Family’s cooking show combines love of food and high-tech

Eleven-year-old Bree Katz may not have known it when she was just a preschooler, but what started out as an afternoon of fun and family bonding has become something family and friends near and far enjoy, “Brianna’s Cooking Show.” 

The show stars Bree, a fifth-grader at Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy, and is produced by her older brother, 16-year-old Jacob, a sophomore at the Jewish day school. 

The first show was produced about seven years ago when Bree was only 4. Jacob wanted to play around with his new video camera and Bree was hungry. She wanted to make scrambled eggs. The rest, as they say, is history.

Looking back, Vicki Katz said early on the cooking show was a way for her two children to get her to cook something they wanted to eat.

“They always want me to cook and I want to get out of cooking sometimes,” Vicki said. “As time went on, whenever they wanted me to make something, they would decide to make a cooking show.”


Their father, Gary Katz, said the show is also a way “to keep everyone busy.”

“I helped teach Jake how to do the editing while Vicki was teaching Bree how to cook,” Gary said.

The owner of Mac M.D. Inc. (www.macmd.com), Gary said he prefers to stay behind the scenes as a director. But he has been known to help on camera, on occasion.

Over the past four years they’ve done eight episodes total, demonstrating such things as scrambled eggs, waffles, pancakes and granola bars. Some of the episodes have been related to Jewish holiday cooking — they’ve made hamantaschen and potato latkes. That’s where Grandma Barbara “Baba” Katz enters the picture.

“I guest starred in the latke episode,” Barbara Katz said. “I specialize in Jewish cooking.”

“They make latkes every single year,” Vicki said. “We wanted to capture it because they are THE best latkes.”

“We make 250 every year,” Barbara said. One year, the Katz family made more than 400 latkes to take to two different family parties.

The latke episode was actually taped in Barbara’s kitchen, the only that hasn’t been produced at Vicki and Gary’s Overland Park home. That’s also the only episode that has been posted to the HBHA website. You can find it at www.rampagewired.com.

It’s on the HBHA website because Jacob is a member of the school’s tech club. As such, he has the opportunity to use the school’s professional-level camera and editing equipment. That’s how he produced this episode and decided to share it with the entire school community.

The family enjoys making new episodes and watching the old ones.

“You watch it and you listen to Bree talk and you can see how she’s changed,” said Jacob, while others in the family were chiming in how he’s changed as well.

“You see when Bree and I were young and I couldn’t hold the camera steady to now when it actually looks like a production,” Jacob added.

In the early days Gary taught Jacob how to do just about everything for the show. As he grew older, Jacob said he began teaching himself how to do special effects and titles. He’s very proud of how his techniques have advanced, especially for a surprise show they did for Vicki’s birthday last summer. They made cinnamon rolls.

“I was excited to get the cinnamon rolls out for Mom’s birthday, so I got that done quickly,” Jacob said. “In what I like to call 3 a.m. editing, which is when I’m bored, I like to put in fun stuff. In that episode I used a Batman sound and put a spinning cinnamon roll in it.”

There is no regular schedule for the shows. The Katz family puts one together whenever the desire hits them.

“Sometimes I’ll say ‘hey, we have nothing to do, want to make a cooking show?’,” Bree said. Or, as Gary phrased it, Bree will want something to eat and “then we’ll back it up and make a cooking show.”

Bree, who has been in every show because it’s got her name in the title, said she likes doing it “most of the time.”

“I like being able to have a reason to get food. It’s a good way to get something for dinner or dessert and sometimes breakfast,” she said. There’s always been another adult in the show, usually Vicki. But, Bree said “Baba is becoming a regular.”

Just as most celebrity chefs recommend, Vicki keeps her pantry well stocked, so they can almost always do a show at the spur of the moment without even making a special run to the grocery store.

Even though Vicki said she often tries to get out of the chore of cooking, she actually likes to cook and bake. She learned it all from her grandmother Margueritte “Gammy” Davis. In fact Gammy was featured on the cover of The Chronicle making matzah balls with three generations of her family, daughter Helene Singer (Vicki’s mother), granddaughter Lanie Browar (Vicki’s sister) and nieces Melissa and Rebecca Browar. Vicki missed that photo shoot because she was away at college.

“I used to watch cooking shows with Gammy and then whatever she wanted to make she always could just whip it up. She never had a recipe,” Vicki fondly remembers.

Vicki cooks that way as well. So the hardest thing for her when preparing for a cooking show is actually having a recipe to share.

“I don’t use recipes most of the time. So I actually have to think about what I do and write it down and that’s how they get the recipes,” Vicki said.

There are at least two more shows in the works. Bree is clamoring for fudge. Jacob wants something a bit more complicated.

“I want rainbow cookies,” Jacob said. “That one’s complicated and we haven’t gotten around to doing it yet.”

The show is a hit with their family and friends.

“My friends and relatives will go make whatever we make. Then we’ll get a phone call saying, that was really good,” Vicki said.

Jacob only has two years of high school left, but that doesn’t mean the show will end.

“I wouldn’t mind coming back during breaks and doing shows,” he said.

The newest Passover video can be found at http://youtu.be/xDPnTzLBlas, as well as Gary’s YouTube channel http://youtube.com/frensleven. Or you can simply search YouTube for “Brianna’s Cooking Show.”